4

Medical School Blues – Part 2

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Where we are: Joey and Suzy are at the top of their medical school class. Joey has been helping his friend, Socks, do better so he doesn’t have to graduate last in the class. Socks did well on his most recent exam. Suzy said it was because Joey cheated for him.

Poor Socks was devastated. He thought that he had been getting smarter. Now someone said the he was cheating.

Socks: Suzy, does that mean that my score doesn’t count?

Suzy: Did you know Joey had stolen the information he taught you?

Socks: Of course not. I would never cheat.Image result for siamese cat and dog

Suzy: I didn’t think so. I’ll make sure you don’t get in trouble.

Joey: What about me? You just accused me of cheating. I didn’t cheat!

Suzy: Then why did you say you knew the questions ahead of time?

Joey: I never said that!

Suzy: Then why did I hear it?

Joey: You didn’t hear it! I never said it. Take it back before I get into trouble.

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Soon the accusation spread beyond their group of friends. It seemed like everyone knew. It was only a matter of time before someone told the professor.

Professor Gibbs: Mr. Boxer, may I see you after class?

Joey: Of course.

Joey was nervous. It had to be about the exam. What if the professor had heard about Suzy’s accusation?

Gibbs: You did extremely well on my last exam.

Joey: Yes, sir. I studied very hard

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Gibbs: So did your friend, Socks. He’s never gotten higher than a score of 74 on a test.

Joey: We’ve been studying together.

Gibbs: What have you two been studying from?

Joey: The textbook and our notes, of course. Mainly my notes.

Gibbs: I’ve heard from a credible source that you were studying from the actual test that I had prepared.

Joey: Suzy’s lying! I never saw that test before we took it. She’s just trying to get me in trouble.Image result for dog on trial meme

Gibbs: I have no idea what you’re talking about. I haven’t seen Suzy outside of class in weeks. I wanted to talk to you about the rumor. Is it true?

Joey: No, it is not.

Gibbs: Then you better find a way to prove that. You’re scheduled to appear before the academic board a week from Tuesday. If they vote that you’ve cheated, you’re going to be expelled.

One more thing, do you know of Mr. Retriever cheating?

Joey: He would never cheat. He’s been studying around the clock since I began tutoring him. He’s actually pretty smart when he focuses.

Gibbs: All right. That’s what we thought. He has been doing better in class.

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Joey: Why do you think I would cheat? I’m at the top of the class.

Gibbs: Exactly. The top students are the only ones who cheat at this point. They’ll do anything they can to be number 1 at the end.

Joey: Thanks for telling me. I guess I better go figure out how to straighten this out.

Joey met with a few of his closest friends. He wasn’t sure who to trust; someone had told administration. Apparently, it wasn’t Suzy.

Joey: I think I’m done guys. How do I prove that I didn’t say something?

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Alex Owl: Where did you supposedly say this?

Joey: I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Suzy since she said it.

Jeremy Airedale: When were the two of you at the same place that she might have heard something that sounds like that?

Joey (frustrated): I don’t know. Socks, do you remember anything?

Socks: Sorry, buddy. I went out to play ball with some of my old friends, and slept until the next class.

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Alex: It looks like you’re in a bit of a mess. There’s only one thing to do. You have to prove that she’s lying.

Socks: That doesn’t seem very nice. She was just talking to some friends. I don’t think she meant it to turn out this way.

Jeremy: That may be true. But I think Alex is right. If we can’t prove that he’s right, then we have to prove that she’s wrong.

Joey: How do we do that?

The next day, Suzy was given a letter. It said that she had to be in court 2 days later. Joey Boxer was suing her for slander and defamation of character.

Next week: Will the trial vindicate Joey?

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12

Medical School Blues

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Suzy Siamese and Joey Boxer had been competitors all the way through medical school. It was generally agreed that they both would be excellent doctors. The end of school was near and they wanted to do their best. Class standing would determine where they could do their internship.

Joey’s best friend in the program was a golden retriever named Max who everyone called him Socks because he had a habit of wearing socks when he was cold rather than curling up like everyone else.

Poor Socks was at the bottom of the class. It looked like he was going to get whatever assignment no one else wanted. His only goal was not to be last.

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Socks: This is awful. You have no idea how terrible it feels to be at the bottom of the class. I feel like an idiot.

Joey: You’re not an idiot, buddy. This is a great school.

Socks: Yeah, but maybe I should have gone to Canine U. I probably would have done better at a school without all these smart animals from other species. I could have competed with other Goldens and dogs who are closer to me intellectually. I might have even been near the top of the class.

Joey: You belong here. You didn’t wash out like those losers with really rotten grades.

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Socks: Maybe. But look who’s at the top of the class: you, that cat, and a falcon. I’m going to end up in East Siberia.

Joey: It won’t be that bad. We don’t even partner with a school in Siberia.

Socks: That’s not funny. You know what I mean.

Joey: OK. OK. You might be right. I would hate to be at the bottom of the class. Maybe I can help.

Socks: How? Change my grades in the computer? Get some of the animals ahead of me to drop out?

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Joey: No, goofball. I can tutor you.

Socks: Do you have time for that?

Joey: I’ll make time for you, buddy.

Socks: Thanks! That’d be great! I just want to pass that cuckoo. It is so embarrassing being behind him.

Joey: We can probably do even better than that.

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A few weeks passed. Suzy was meeting with her study group. It was a good group for her. Everyone was in the top quarter of the class.

Pete: That’s it for tonight. If I have to see one more drawing or picture of bacteria, I’ll go crazy.

June: Me too. I think my brain is full for today.

Betty: Did you hear the latest? Joey is tutoring Socks.

Ben: Poor Socks. I can’t believe he made it to the end. He’s such a nice guy, but he doesn’t have much of an attention span.

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Suzy: I really don’t know how he can study. And I wonder how Joey has time to tutor an animal like that.

Ben: Who knows. Anyone up for a quick snack at the café?

They spent a short time eating, then went home to study.

It appeared that the tutoring was working. Socks began to answer correctly when he was called on in class.

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Professor Atkins: Well, Mr. Retriever, it seems that you have finally learned how to study.

Socks: I have to thank Joey Boxer for the change. He’s been tutoring me.

Professor Atkins: Good job, Mr. Boxer.

Socks’ performance continued to improve. Even so, he was nervous about the microbiology test coming up.

Socks: What if I forget everything? We would have wasted all that time.

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Joey: Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.

Joey was right. Socks got 85/100, his highest grade ever. He was thrilled, until Suzy spoke up.

Suzy: I heard Joey Boxer say that he knew Socks was going to do well because he knew what the questions were going to be and he gave Socks the answers.

Next week: Did Joey cheat or was Suzy just trying to get him in trouble so she’d have fewer competitors?

Image result for content fluffy siamese cat

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

11

I Don’t Remember it Like That

We dropped our daughter off at college last Sunday. I’d always heard that it would be like a flashback to my own college days. I guess you could call it that.

She is going to a much smaller place than I did. There was no mistaking where you were going at the University of Michigan. Or when you got there. Or the thousands of people around wherever you wanted to be.

This place is in a residential area not far from where I grew up. There is no real signage except on the freeway right below. The freeway that has been closed for construction for the summer and will be until November.

No problem, right? You grew up there. True enough. We found the school with no trouble. And a parking lot. Was it the right parking lot? It had to be – it was the only one near the dorm. Yep – one parking lot, one dorm. No rushing memories yet.

We went inside. While she registered, we sat on a sofa. There were a few other kids filling out paperwork. No pandemonium. No feeling of being lost in a crowd. Hmmmmm. I was channeling high school more than college.

But wait. Something did feel familiar. Ahhh – a large building in the late summer with no air conditioning. The strange mustiness of a building that has been unoccupied for several months and is now full of sweating people.

Paperwork done, we went to the third floor. Where she had to talk to another person. She got a checklist for the current room condition. Once she filled out the form, she could have her key. I just had to identify myself and get a key. One point for large bureaucracy.

We went down the hallway and found her room. The girl at the end of the hall said it was open. It was not. Luckily her roommate was on the other side of the closed door. As we waited at the door, I noticed the girls in the room across the hall watching us. Open doors, people watching. That’s familiar. A little creepy, but familiar.

The room looks a lot like the one I had. But smaller. Dorm rooms are not known for their spaciousness, but this was the smallest double I had seen at any school. I swear that the girls could lay on their beds, hold out their arms and touch each other. I thought private schools were supposed to be more luxurious than the public ones. I guess this is part of the reason hers isn’t particularly expensive.

The roommate did remind me of some of the girls I knew in the dorm. Very sweet. And very aware of the strategic advantages of being the first to the room. Her side of the room was totally decorated. She had two rugs which covered two-thirds of the room. (In her defense, I don’t think they make rugs for half a room that size.)

The closets are on her side of the room, next to each other. Next to her desk. She took the one that is closest to my daughter’s side. It’s more easily accessible. The sink is on my daughter’s side. She took all the jewelry hooks she needed.

Actually I understand all of that. Don’t appreciate it. But I understand. The girl has never shared space with a stranger before. She doesn’t realize that parents can turn feral in defense of their offspring.

But that wasn’t the strangest part. Trying to make conversation, I asked about pictures she had pinned up of a dog and a bunny. I knew the dog was her pet. What about the bunny? She said they owned a rabbit farm. Some rabbits were pets and some were for sale.

This one? He was for sale. You have a picture of a rabbit you ate? Yes. That’s strange. OK, he can be a pet. So you are a little sick putting up a picture of a meal-to-be or you think you can freak me out by telling me your family raises rabbits for sale. Either way, I’m glad I’m not your mother.

We finally brought the stuff up. In the hot, humid weather. They had handcarts, but most of the people didn’t bother to take them back down when they were done. So it was an obstacle course. Did I mention the hallways were also strangely narrow for a dorm?

Downstairs I held a door open for a couple of guys with a sofa. It was the second one they brought in. Some of the people in my dorm built lofts for their beds and used the room as social space. With the size of the rooms and the size of the sofas, I’m guessing these guys have a very intimate social circle.

Sweaty guys. Tired, frustrated parents. Embarrassed, nervous students. They were right. It was beginning to remind me of college.

2

From Slates to SmartBoards

Back in the dark ages of education (even before I went to school), students had individual slates they were supposed to bring to school every day to write on. I’ve seen them in living museums. I really don’t think I get the concept. (Yes, I know – you use chalk to make marks on the black slate then use a cloth to remove them.)

Including the wooden border, they appear to be about the dimensions of a laptop. While I can appreciate the need to be mobile, I don’t understand how you would really be able to practice penmanship or do more than a couple of math problems at a time. I guess that’s why the rich kids got to use pen and paper.

Which, sadly, is where things stood when I went to school. (Pen and paper, not slates) There was a large blackboard at the front (sometimes they were green). We used pencils for math, and pens for the other stuff. I even had a teacher who made us practice penmanship and diagram sentences, although I heard that she was the only ogre left in the profession.

I have been helping a family get ready for school this year. I cannot believe the changes. Calculators are now allowed in all grades. I am so jealous. I had to calculate logarithms by hand (I can’t even spell it now). I’m not really sure what the point to it was. I’m told that previous generations with slide rules had it easier than we did. I don’t know. I saw one once and was traumatized.

One of the requirements for the lower grades now is ear buds. Since my kids just graduated, and I had never seen that on a list, I was confused. I have seen several memos about not using them in class.

Turns out that much of the instruction on computers is oral for the younger kids. The earbuds allow them to concentrate better. Probably cuts down on talking too. I can see this as a teacher’s dream: a room full of kids learning and no noise.

It makes me think of the language lab we had in college. The system for teaching was computerized, but there was no way to listen individually. Sometimes it sounded like the UN. More often it was like trying to study in Grand Central Station.

Most people tried to be considerate, but there are always a few who really don’t get it. I can’t ever think of studying Russian there without remembering the person learning Arabic. Maybe the guy on the tape was just really loud.

The libraries have turned into media centers. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of library is “a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale”.

A Media Center is a place where media is kept. (There is no official definition.) Apparently it is a media center because it now has computers. The books, magazines, newspapers, videos and audio tapes are still there. The computers are obviously technological snobs. Library was good enough for all the other media.

Students are now requested to bring supplies for the teachers too: sanitizers, tissues, band aids (?), pens, pencils. Obviously the teachers didn’t ask for the supplies. There are no requests for Valium, aspirin, or parent-teacher negotiation trainers.

One thing obviously has not changed in many years. The team mascot is the Dreadnoughts. The first time I heard it, I wondered where my education had gone wrong. I thought it was a ship. Silly me.

Who knew? They really do have a battleship as their team mascot. The dreadnought (fear nothing) was the predominant battleship of the early 20th century. It was armed with all heavy caliber guns and used steam turbine propulsion.

Nothing makes me think of 21st century high school football like steam turbine propulsion. I wonder what all those Eagles, Tigers, and Panthers think of it. I imagine it would be hard to drum up too much fear of a team when you don’t know what it is.